Sh*t in. Sh*t out: Is user input destroying your UX?


Sam Smith

Vice President & Managing Director, EMEA

You buy a designer shirt. It’s a great shirt. It cost an amount that your mum would be horrified by. The first time you wear it, you feel amazing. Then you don’t wash it properly, you don’t press it, you screw it up and leave old stains to set in – pretty soon this expensive shirt will look shoddy. In other words, you’re not getting a good experience anymore. The same is true of talent tech. Technology organisations can give you every shiny new workforce tool you can possibly imagine; if you don’t treat them right, you won’t get good results and it’s UX (user experience) that will suffer.

There is an adage in data processing – Sh*t in. Sh*t out. This means you get out what you put in. This is true when it comes to workforce tools (and pretty much everything else you can imagine).

So, how are you treating your tech tools? And how can you ensure that you don’t sabotage your UX?

Everyone has a role to play

Everyone is a user. Leaders. Clients. Stakeholders. Hiring Managers. They all have a role to play if you want to protect UX and critical data. Customised reports, poor data input, and inexpertly bolted-on functions outside the remit of a system can all create chaos, fast. Think about your VMS. It’s packed with useful functions that have the potential to drive and shape your people strategy. But if your team hasn’t had proper training and you’re gathering poor quality information or using the system in a way it wasn’t designed for, you’re going to get bad output. This unreliable information undermines performance and means a bad UX for hiring managers, leaders, and ultimately, candidates.

How do you solve this problem?

I believe there are three big areas to consider when it comes to protecting talent tools and preserving a healthy UX.

1. Did you buy the right tool in the first place?

Is a tool consistently failing to deliver what you need? Are users abusing it and constantly forcing it to work in ways it’s not designed for? Perhaps it’s not fit for purpose. You have to start from a foundation of having the right tool in the right place and make tough decisions when something simply isn’t delivering. This was one of the driving forces behind our proprietary tech portal Helix UX. We wanted to build a truly flexible piece of software that was adaptable while remaining simple and intuitive. I’m really proud of what we have created and it’s well worth a closer look. That being said, the sheer volume of talent tech out there can be overwhelming. If you’re not sure what tools you need or how you should be using them, it’s always worth calling in expert advice.

2. Have you got the right training and education in place?

Great technology should be intuitive, but that doesn’t mean that users will simply ‘know’ best practices or how to clean up old or incorrect data. Poor input often comes down to a lack of training, failure to maintain consistent standards, and failure to recognise when tech needs to evolve to meet changing needs. Rigorous new tech onboarding is vital, but we may need to think bigger. As an industry, poor technology implementation and incorrect usage is a failure point that we see repeated time and time again. Everyone has to understand and feel ownership of key technology to deliver high-quality input and a good UX.

3. Providers need to keep up with change.

A provider shouldn’t recommend a piece of tech and forget about it. The world of work is evolving fast and the pace of technological change is even faster. Providers have a responsibility to keep up with this change and proactively recommend upgrades and new functions. They must understand the evolution of workforce needs and think carefully about how technology can adapt to serve them. It’s also important that developers are regularly reviewing how technology is being used and highlighting pain points or destructive workarounds.

Another issue that providers must consider is that many users are dealing with over 100 different systems and tools – CRM, Payroll, VMS, HR systems, and many, many more. Cutting red tape and admin across the workforce ecosystem is crucial to driving better inputs and outputs for every workforce tool.

However, poor UX caused by poor engagement with talent tools is much more than an issue for providers – it’s everyone’s problem. Good data drives great UX, but the credibility of this data also powers reporting and informs the direction of a program. Simply, without the right inputs and strong UX, a talent program is likely to stumble or even fail. I’ve seen this destruction happen in real life and it’s not pretty. It’s like buying a Maserati only to fill it with fast food wrappers and never take it for a service; treat your tool like a beat-up family saloon and it’s going to perform like one.

If you’d like to chat about cleaning up your user input or learn more about our Helix UX software drop me a line, I’d love to connect.


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